I am thirty one years old, turning thirty two in May, to some I would still be considered a spring chicken. So why is it that already the ravages of time are taking such a severe toll on my body?
OK, it is no secret I haven’t exactly looked after myself through the years, I have always been a gym fanatic to some degree, but the abuses I exacted on myself both inside and outside the gym (not those kind of abuses, mind out the gutter, or is that just me?) would not be considered by anyone, no matter how forgiving, as a healthy way to live.
I have spent a great deal of my adult life inhaling, snorting and even injecting (steroids) things into my body which would make the Lord shout out “What the fuck are you doing to my Temple?”
When I was younger and people said things like, “Look after yourself or you will regret it when you’re older.” I tended not to listen and think I knew better. I thought I had plenty of time to give it all up, “I’m young, my body can handle it”. Conversely I thought I probably wouldn’t live into my thirties so it didn’t matter anyway (such is the twisted mind of a drug abuser). Now though, as I limp down the street some mornings because my knees hurt again, or realize that for the umpteenth time I have forgotten my water bottle, I think “Fuck I should have listened.”
So what was it that did me in? Well it could have been the hundred thousand cigarettes I smoked from about fifteen to current (ending soon!). Or it could have been the ounces upon ounces of weed I smoked while living in London. I know that has to be at least partly responsible for the lack of memory I display, which borders on severe brain damage.
Then again it could have been the cocaine and speed I spent about two solid years shoving huge amounts of up my nose, which although fun on the initial inhalation, required very many more inhalations to keep it that way.
Of course there were the mountains of LSD and Magic Mushrooms I feasted on in my search for “The Meaning of Life”. I never found it, but I got a hint or two. In fact these are the only drugs I don’t regret taking. I learned a lot from them and saw some incredibly beautiful things which just don’t exist in our limited world. I never really took them to party and would mostly just chill and “think” by myself when having a session.
But, the thing I think may have done the most damage to my prematurely aging body, are the steroids I chucked myself into for about three years. There were very few steroids I didn’t take, I injected (actually safer than eating them, which destroys your liver, perhaps something else to look forward to as I age) and swallowed so many hormones it is a surprise my man boobs aren’t twice the size they are now.
Fortunately whenever I have taken any sort of drug I have researched them well first, I was kind of like a geeky drug taker. So I took the right amount of time off, never took too many at once, and made sure I came off them with the right support meds. What I didn’t do, is train smart. I have a habit of pushing too hard in the gym, and when I had all that extra testosterone sloshing about in my system, I lifted weights well beyond my capabilities.
I squatted about 400 pounds for reps upon reps, which is why I think my knees are blown. I shoulder pressed about 180 pounds for reps and reps, which is why I think my shoulders and neck are gone, and I dead-lifted about 500 pounds, which is why I can’t lie on my stomach without my back aching. I acted like a child with no thought for the consequences, and now I can’t lift weights for fear of straining my neck and being incapacitated for another six months.
Basically I did what I wanted, and screwed myself in a lot of the ways for the future. Luckily I have never been so addicted to drugs that I went too far. They have sent me into bouts of depression and turned me into a right dickhead at times, but I never stole from my mum or sold my ass on the streets to get “hooked up.” I never lost a job or friend ’cause I was too high (you would be surprised how high you can be before anyone notices, mainly because I was high all the time and they just thought that’s how I was). I never got caught, so I didn’t have to stop, but I did.
As I got older and wiser I started naturally coming off one drug after another. For some reason, it just happened. I just didn’t feel like it anymore. So I stopped the cocaine and the speed. I stopped the pills and the acid. I gave up on the steroids and the weed. Of all of these, weed was the hardest thing to quit. I smoked it like cigarettes, twenty or more joints a day. Coming off it actually felt like getting high, a really boring, plain, high. Eventually, even my desire to get stoned faded to nothing. I have never liked alcohol so that was one thing I didn’t have to quit, because I don’t drink it.
By the time I got to Australia, I was basically tee-total. My only remaining habit was and is smoking cigarettes. The strange thing is, despite having been heavily addicted, I don’t miss the drugs at all. Sometimes I miss enjoying being high, but nowadays I don’t enjoy it, so there is no point.
Soon I will give up the cigarettes too, and then really I will have no real vices. I just have to hope that it isn’t too late, that I can still come back from the ravages I have imposed on myself over the years. I think drugs are a right of passage most kids will go through. Some try it for a short while and decide it is not for them. Some do it for a long while, then grow up and realize they don’t want the lifestyle or the expense of drugs anymore. Then there are the unfortunates who get caught up in it and ruin their entire lives in search of another fix. These are the ones you most often get warned about. They are also the ones no kid thinks he is actually going to turn out like.
People like me hardly seem a worthy deterrent, but just because I’m not blowing some “John” through a peep hole in the public toilets, doesn’t mean I haven’t lost a lot from my time as a “druggie.” I have, most of which is only now becoming apparent.
There is no denying drugs can be fun. A party can be so much better with pills and cocaine. Chilling with your mates can be so much fun and funnier if you’re stoned off your nut, and you can be stronger and have a better body than all those mates if you take steroids.
But there is a cost, one which is very hard to see when you’re younger. A cost on your mind and body. It’s like they say in almost every movie that has magic in it. “Magic always has a price”, well so do drugs. They can be a lot of fun during your young adult life, but they can also fuck up the next sixty or so years quite easily.
I’m not saying don’t do drugs, that would be hypocritical of me, I had a blast doing them when I was younger. Just be willing to accept the consequences, and don’t be stupid about it, or you could end up with a lot worse than bum knees, a bad stomach, and a shit memory.
Why am I telling people this? Because I came out the other side, and all that jazz was a big part of who and why I am what I am. No one is perfect, so why pretend?